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Misery Loves Company…Especially Among Addicts

In a healthy relationship, each individual wants what is good for the other. You want good things to happen to your friend. You hope for the best for your spouse. You do things for your friends and help them take actions that will be beneficial.

Things are different when you’re addicted to drugs.

Different Priorities

The addiction is the top priority, not a friend’s well-being. Those who are active in their addictions don’t generally encourage friends to get clean. They don’t want to use alone. They are in a pit and want others in there with them.

Why? Well, the answer is pretty simple: Fear.

If our using friends get clean, we would have to confront some pretty uncomfortable feelings. The prospect of dealing with these things tends to bring up a multitude of irrational fears. Here’s a look at some of the most common:

Irrational Fear #1   The common ground will disappear

An active addict’s “friends” are often simply fellow users. The only real bond that exists between them is the substance abuse. We are drinking buddies. We use together.

If these “friends” get clean, we won’t have anyone to use with. We will feel alone. Even if the so-called friendships we have are shallow and without meaning, they still make us feel less alone than we would if they were no longer around.

Irrational Fear #2   We will be judged

If our friends get sober, they will no longer be in the same boat with us. The people who used to share in the addiction will be in a different place emotionally and physically. From this new place, we worry that our friends will judge us.

With a different perspective on life, our old pals may look down on us and even try to tell us that we have a problem. This isn’t what they we to hear. Instead, we prefer that others simply stay actively using with us.

Irrational Fear #3   The lies will stare us in the face

When consumed with addiction, we lead lives that are just a big tapestry of lies. We lie to ourselves and others. If those around us are doing the same thing, it doesn’t seem so bad. Everyone is so caught up in deceiving themselves it’s easier to go on living in the lies.

But, if our friends suddenly sober up, may not believe the lies any more. It’s much harder to fool a sober person.

Sober friends represent a glaring truth that we don’t want to see. So, we prefer that our friends stay in the boat of addiction instead of making us face the shores of truth.

Irrational Fear #4   Guilt may set in

We don’t want to admit to ourselves or others that our actions have caused pain. Often, we have even encouraged others to get involved with drugs or we have perpetuated growing addictions in them. If these individuals we have poorly influenced get clean, we may be forced to deal with guilt.

If our friends struggle to get sober, they might realize what a negative influence we are on their lives. They might confront us about our behaviors. They will most likely stop hanging around us. These actions can cause guilt, and since guilt is not a desirable emotion, we will do whatever we can to avoid it. In the end, it’s just easier to keep a group of using friends around.

Additional Reading: 5 Telltale Signs of a High-Functioning Addict

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